Mario Power Tennis (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Caleb

9.1

Introduction

When I think of exciting, entertaining sports, tennis is far from the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, I can think of few sports that hold less appeal to me than this one. And yet still I find myself inexplicably drawn to Camelot's Mario Tennis franchise. Once again they have managed to take a sport (one which usually holds no interest for me) and turn it into a brilliant game that anyone can enjoy, even those with no interest in sports at all!

Gameplay

Mario Tennis: Power Tour deviates from its console brethren in the fact that it provides a fully-realized singleplayer experience. In fact, the singleplayer portion of the game could stand entirely on its own as a full-fledged RPG, even without the enticing multiplayer component (which pretty much comprises the whole of the console versions). At the beginning of the game, virtually all Mario-related characters and mini-games are unavailable and must be unlocked for use. The player will choose to create either a male or female tennis athlete and progress through the singleplayer portion with that character.

The singleplayer portion can be fully summed up as a "role-playing sports game." As you progress through tournaments and challenges, your character will gain levels and increase in various stats as he or she shapes into the tennis player you want him to be. This singleplayer RPG portion is extremely straightforward and highly fulfilling. As you progress to become the top tennis champion of the Mario world, you'll interact with many others on the same goal and face loads of challenges and minigames on your championship quest. The only complaint that could possibly be brought against the singleplayer portion is its mandatory nature: in other words, you will have to play through most of the singleplayer to unlock the wonderful multiplayer components and minigames. The multiplayer portion does full justice to its console counterparts, and the wireless gameplay is certainly a wonderful plus. Each person will have to have their own copy of the game, but it's certainly a worthwhile experience, and could even be considered the best handheld game of tennis in existance.

Controls

The tennis matches themselves are presented masterfully, and you'd be hardpressed to find smoother controls or better-developed full-fledged tennis action on any other handheld title. The physics work perfectly in this 2D setting, and the responsiveness of the characters is top-notch.

Graphics

There's certainly nothing disappointing here. As usual for a Camelot title, the graphical presentation is top-notch, making wonderful use of the Golden Sun graphical engine throughout the entire RPG world. While it's not as impressive as it was several years ago, the game's graphics still hold up well with their vibrant, attractive colors and well-animated sprites.

Sound

As always, Camelot delivers most masterfully in the sound department. The musical presentation is excellent, despite not fully living up to their Golden Sun scores. The sound effects are also recycled from Golden Sun for the most part, with the obvious exception of tennis-related sounds and blips. Overall, the sound and musical department matches up with the graphical: a nice, clean presentation with its own vibrant charm.

Final comments

To top it all off, the game holds great long-lasting value, since the singleplayer portion is likely to entertain you for a good, long time, and the multiplayer itself would be enough to make the entire game worthwhile even without the singleplayer! Mario Tennis is one of those games that you aren't likely to be bored of for months (and maybe years) to come, and it's certainly worth every cent of its price tag. It's difficult to find much to complain about with Mario Tennis: Power Tour. Camelot has delivered a brilliant entry in the franchise once again, and Power Tour is possibly the best entry in the series to date. Whether or not you're a fan of tennis - or even Mario - you really can't go wrong with this excellent game.

Pro: Smooth Gameplay. Great Visuals. Camelot-quality musical presentation.
Con: Singleplayer Mode must be completed before much of the multiplayer is fully available.
Final score: 9.1

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Boxart of Mario Power Tennis (Game Boy Advance)
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Genre: Sports
Developer: Camelot
Publisher: Nintendo